Open Your Bible
Matthew 27:62-66, Luke 23:54-56, Isaiah 53:8-12
“I cannot even begin to imagine.”
It’s a response I’ve gotten used to as someone who writes about grief and feels it often. It’s all said with good intentions, of course, a nod to the gravity of the situation, but mostly, what I want to say in return is, “Yes, of course you can.” This life hurts, certainly we have all felt that.
There’s peripheral grief, the pain we find in tweets and headlines, feeling the loss of someone we once knew or will never meet. It’s the kind we pass through like a hospital hallway, guilty to be leaving so obviously whole, and yet, so unmistakably broken.
There’s nearby grief, sympathy pangs for the people we love and would trade places with in an instant. If only it could be us, we could tend to our own wounds and know exactly where it hurt. But instead, we visit, we sit, we wait, we do our best.
Then there’s intimate grief, the deep aches that shape us and never leave us the same. This kind ushers us into an entirely new reality, where we wonder if we’ll ever find joy again. And at the same time, we also question if we’d even want to, if we deserve to.
Holy Saturday—the day between Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection—invites us into all three dimensions of grief, a display of just how heartbreaking this life can be. After Jesus’s death, we see the silent doubts of onlookers in the crowd, feel the loss experienced by His closest disciples, and intimately grieve Our Father’s separation from His Son. With all of this obvious pain, it’s no wonder we’re hesitant to believe the good-news promises that have been made to us. And yet, here’s the most important part of today’s reading:
The next day, which followed the preparation day, the chief priests
and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said,
“Sir, we remember that while this deceiver was still alive he said,
‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give orders that the tomb be made secure
until the third day” (Matthew 27:62–64).
Although the scene was full of grief and doubt, the tomb was still secured by guards. While they said they were afraid His followers would steal His body, part of me wants to believe there’s a bigger truth at play here: Even those who opposed Jesus believed there was a chance He would keep His promises.
Regardless of whether we feel grief coming at us from all sides, or we don’t feel able to believe that God is who He says He is, the resurrection still comes. Easter still happens. Jesus offers the kind of mercy I cannot even begin to imagine or understand. Thanks be to God, whose faithfulness is good and whose promises are true. Amen.